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Homily for 10 (B) 2018
“Who are my mother and my brother?”
"And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:"
"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
It’s a fairly familiar story. Someone is old and frail and someone else, or a few people, really look after them. They visit them and reassure them. Sometimes it’s quite difficult because the elderly have often an insatiable appetite for company and, even if they don’t, they have needs that require careful nurturing. Sometimes, of course, the elderly are just abandoned and get professional care, but without anyone making sure that their real needs are met. Let us suppose that there is someone in one of those two categories. One day, they die, they pass away. Very often, at this moment other people come out of the woodwork, keen to know what is in the will and full of stories about how the deceased had promised them, if not the house, then valuable trinkets. The greed and hypocrisy of these people is often clumsily disguised by references to the grandchildren and others who were really very fond of their relative even if distance or busyness prevented them from actually displaying such fondness in the form of actual care. Their fondness was fake news.
I’ve come across that sort of thing so many times, or I have heard from people how it was disgraceful that x had died and that they had got nothing. It’s not a good time, generally, that moment when the vultures gather.
People are who they are, and we are all a little selfish and grasping at times. The important thing is not to be that way with God. People will judge you for being selfish with your investment in other people. God may mention it in due course, but don’t pretend to be a Christian and not come to church. Don’t pretend to be a Christian and not pray. Don’t pretend to be Christian and not contribute to the financial needs of the community. Don’t pretend to be a Christian and let a few people exhaust themselves looking after Jesus and his community while you neglect both. Don’t turn up at the last judgment and expect your name to be at the top of the list if your Christianity has been fake news. God will know whether you have been with him, whether you have given of yourself and your resources, or not.
“And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.”